Going through an anti-inflammatory, sugar-free, and dairy-free lifestyle has its ups and downs. it is a healthy shift that can be tough. I fought inflammation, pain, and digestive issues for many years; so that contributed to my learning about gut-healing foods. I found what works for me and I use the principles that my family taught me; and in the process, inspiring other people.
The following are my three favorite snacks that can help fight inflammation and gut issues. They make perfect snacks and appetizers, as well as meals. Most places in the Caribbean and around the world use them as delicious everyday staples. They can help with many gut problems, especially ulcers, acid reflux, leaky gut syndrome, and ulcerative colitis.
All about plantains
Plantains are bananas that contain a lot of starch and low sugar, and they harvest them green. In the tropics, people use them very often as cooked vegetables. Many believe that the plant is native to Southeast Asia.
The two groups of plantains with a common origin are:
- the horn plantain,
- and the French plantain.
These two types of plantain grow in India, Africa, Egypt and also tropical America. French plantains are also found in Indonesia and the Pacific islands.
They are good sources of:
- vitamins A, C, and B2,
- and B6.
What is the difference between plantains and banana?
Plantains are “normally large, angular and starchy,” unlike ordinary bananas or “dessert” bananas. Bananas are the ones that we eat raw and peeled. They are usually smaller and rounder as well as sugary. However, there is no formal scientific distinction between a plantain and a banana.
Plantain and gut health
By now, you have probably heard that plantains, like resistant starch, are super good for your gut. They are called a Gut superfood among many other things. Most assume that because they are optimal for many, they are optimal for everyone.
While they are a Paleo food (in addition to low FODMAP) and have a place for gut healing; well, people that are in the early stage of a gut healing journey should use them with caution.
Other Benefits of plantains
The following are some of the health benefits of plantains:
- Natural diuretic
Since plantains are diuretic in nature, it helps to flush out all the toxins by cleaning out the excretory system. Hence plantains also aid in preventing urinary tract infections and kidney stone development.
Because of its antibacterial properties, plantains can be useful in preventing and treating infections. Plantains are particularly helpful for infections in the respiratory tract.
- Improve cholesterol
Plantains also can reduce bad cholesterol. Hence preventing numerous cardiovascular diseases.
- Tissue moisture
It also helps retain moisture in body tissues due to its astringent properties.
- Wound healing
Plantain works like a coating agent that can help to heal gastric ulcers; due to certain antioxidants that act as some sort of bandaid and allow wound-healing.
The history of sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes also known as Kumaras are one of our oldest vegetables and are native to Central and South America. History records them in 10,000-year-old relics in the caves of Peru. Here, they are commonly eaten as a fall and winter vegetable, usually around the holidays.
Their powerhouse of nutrients warrants them to be eaten more frequently if we are to gain more of their health benefits. If you are growing sweet potatoes, the colors vary. They can be white, purple or brown and/ or reddish; and the colors of the flesh vary from white to yellow and to orange and purple.
They are rich in:
- vitamins A and C,
- and vitamin B6, potassium and iron.
They have great anti-inflammatory properties that assist the body with conditions such as:
- colon cancer,
- heart disease,
- rheumatoid arthritis,
- and osteoarthritis.
Health benefits of sweet potatoes for the gut
Purple sweet potatoes may help to prevent cancer cell growth; and also show a reduction of the dangers of heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. This is great news for those who are diagnosed with digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
Sweet potatoes are also a good source of fiber to prevent constipation. Dietary fiber is important for the health of the digestive tract and the improvement of intestinal activity. The more you poop, the better you feel! They can help fight toxins and restore gut health and good bacteria.
After all, sweet potatoes are an incredible source of prebiotics for your gut flora. Because they are a resistant starch, they help the good gut microbes take root in your gut and multiply.
More about sweet potatoes
- Naturally anti-inflammatory
May help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Sweet potatoes are also very helpful against asthma attacks and joint diseases.
- Weight management
They can easily help with weight control. The fiber in the sweet potato ensures that you get full for a longer time.
- Anti-cancer properties.
Sweet potatoes have been shown to scientifically reduce the incidence of certain cancers.
- Assists in stopping muscular tissue cramps.
They are rich in potassium which is a great muscles relaxant. The Potassium in sweet potato is a terrific anxiety reducer as well.
- Skin Wellness.
Healthy, glowing skin is possible; with a balanced diet rich in pro-vitamins and minerals from sweet potatoes.
- General immunity promoter.
They’re brimming with antioxidants that boost your immune system.
Taro is a perennial tropical plant grown for its swollen roots or tubers and leafy vegetation. The plant rarely flowers or seeds and is dependent on the roots for reproduction. By transplanting the upper part of the root with the stem bud, a whole new plant can emerge.
Research suggests that Taro is originated in the area of modern-day Malaysia. Taro root spread to tropical regions around the globe by explorers, west to Egypt and Africa and east to the Pacific Islands.
The root is widely used today in Hawaii, tropical Africa, and China. Over 10% of the world’s population uses taro as a staple food. High cuisine all over the world use taro for its succulent taste.
The roots have a better nutrient profile than rice and potatoes.
It contains a lot of:
- copper and manganese,
- and fiber.
Taro root contains very high amounts of vitamin C, which makes the tuber a good source of the immune system and antioxidant support.
Taro can help fix the gut
Since taro root contains plenty of fiber and resistant starch, it is beneficial to gut health. Your body does not digest or absorb fiber and resistant starch, so it stays in the gut. When they get to your colon, they become food for the microbes in your gut and promote the growth of good bacteria.
When intestinal bacteria ferment these fibers, they create short-chain fatty acids that nourish the cells that line the intestines and keep them healthy and strong.
Interestingly, studies in humans have found that people with inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis, tend to have lower levels of short-chain fatty acids in the gut.
Other advantages of Taro
- Reduce Diabetes Risk
Dietary fiber in Taro can help regulate insulin and blood sugar levels in your body and prevent your blood sugar levels from rising.
- Improving eyesight.
It contains antioxidants such as Cryptoxanthin and Beta-carotene that help keep free radicals at bay. It may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
- It helps to keep the skin healthy.
Vitamins A and E are essential for skin health. Adding Taro to your diet can help reduce blemishes and wrinkles and give your complexion a healthy look.
Taro may have antitumor and anticancer properties. Studies revealed that taro extract has some health benefits against prostate and breast cancer.
You can boil, or bake them to make a delicious side dish and/ or a perfect snack.